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The Southern Hemisphere’s only study of its kind is researching the causes of type 1 diabetes (T1D) to find ways to prevent it. And it’s not just pregnant mums with T1D that can help. The research also includes babies-on-the-way and newborns whose dads and siblings have T1D.

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Type 1 diabetes in children is twice as common as it was 20 years ago. This is because the environment that we live in has changed. If we can understand what factors in the environment are harmful or protective, and how they interact with our genes, we can modify the environment to try and prevent anyone getting type 1 diabetes again.

Children may be exposed to the triggers of type 1 diabetes very early in life, perhaps even before they are born. The aim of the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study is to identify the environmental factors that may influence the development of T1D. ENDIA follows babies throughout pregnancy and the early years of life, and measures environmental factors such as bacteria, viruses, body growth and exposure to certain foods.

ENDIA is aiming to recruit 1,400 pregnant women across Australia whose unborn baby has an immediate relative with T1D. Newborn babies less than six months old are also eligible to join.

Your family may be eligible to participate if:

  • You’re a dad, or dad-to-be, with T1D, with a baby on the way
  • You’re a pregnant mum, or mum-to-be, with T1D
  • You’re a parent to a child with T1D, and expecting another baby

Samantha (pictured with family) is a mum to a new baby, and has been participating in the ENDIA trial throughout her pregnancy. Her partner Steven has T1D. Sam said “This is my first clinical trial. My partner is a scientist and he found out about this trial at JDRF One Walk. It piqued his interest because he is keen to understand whether gut bacteria plays a role in the development of T1D.”

“Some of the ENDIA tests will piggyback on other tests that are done routinely for newborns, so that’s good. Even though I’m not a scientist, I am interested in how T1D develops, if we can help shed some light on that by getting involved, that’s a great thing. You have to think of the bigger picture, we’re not going to get a cure unless we do these kinds of studies.”

Families can participate in ENDIA at many major hospitals across Australia. If you live in a regional area, you might be eligible for ENDIA’s Regional Participation Program.

JDRF has partnered with the US based Helmsley Charitable Trust (HCT), to contribute $8 million towards this study. This represents the first time that HCT has invested in type 1 diabetes research in Australia, highlighting the worldwide importance of this research.

Could you be a missing piece in the puzzle? Learn more about participating in ENDIA in this short video or contact the team.

 

 

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